The motion picture industry and health care are identified as developing sectors in Niagara’s economy

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Inspire, invest, grow, these are the watchwords of a 10-year economic development strategy unveiled last week by Niagara Economic Development.

“Today is an important day for economic development as we present the region’s long-term economic development strategy,” Niagara Economic Development Director George Spezza told the Niagara Economic Development and Planning Committee. the Niagara region.

“It takes a visionary look at Niagara and aims to put in place actions to achieve a strong and sustainable economy in the future.

“Developing the strategy was largely a collaborative effort of the Niagara team with all municipalities in the region participating in the process.

Staff who worked on the report also conducted extensive outreach and engagement with community and business groups, partners and regional advisors, as well as over 500 respondents who provided comments and feedback. reactions, Spezza said.

The strategy took 10 months to develop and builds on the region’s strategic plan to support business and economic growth, according to a report to the council.

It contains six strategic directions:

  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion;
  • Education and Workforce Support;
  • Maintaining and expanding business;
  • Green development and sustainability;
  • Infrastructure and transport.

Two documents accompanied the report for Regional Councilors – a summary of the strategy for the wider Niagara community and business groups and a more detailed 39-page strategy report. Data from 2019, the last reliable year before COVID-19, was used.

Valerie Kuhns, associate director of Niagara Economic Development, said advisers wanted the strategy to be developed without an outside consultant and with a unique approach designed by Niagara.

The effort will include sector development and support for four traditional areas: agriculture, manufacturing, professional services and tourism.

Additionally, Niagara Economic Development has identified five emerging sectors in Niagara, including the motion picture industry, healthcare, marine, electric vehicles and sport tourism.

“The region has a lot to offer the film industry in terms of unique locations across all municipalities, and we are seeing growing interest translating into jobs, industry support, municipal fees and increased tourism,” Kuhns said.

“The Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games establishes the capacity in the region to attract, host and lead major sporting events in the future, helping to grow the sport tourism sector. The time has come to consider positioning sport as an economic engine within the framework of the active economy.

Health care also has the potential to become a hub in the future, with a new capital plan for West Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Grimsby and the future Niagara South Hospital in Niagara Falls, in addition to the relatively new hospital in St. Catharines,” Kuhns said. .

The strategy takes a long-term view of the priorities and actions needed to achieve a strong and sustainable economy while outlining the actions that will guide the work of Niagara Economic Development, the report to the board says.

Most actions go beyond critical regional economic development functions. They have been developed in collaboration with municipal development officials in the area as well as broader community and business groups, and each action is assigned a specific timeline based on its level of priority.

Economic development officer Linda Sicoli said the diversity, equity and inclusion effort aims to encourage the growth of businesses owned by diverse people and supports the integration of newcomers, women, youth and indigenous peoples in the labor force.

This can be accomplished by providing feedback and advocating for employees in areas such as the provision of regional public transportation, affordable and available child care, and affordable housing.

“We hope to increase the labor market participation of these underrepresented groups,” Sicoli said.

Ken Scholtens, director of business development at Niagara Economic Development, said the department is focused on diversifying Niagara’s different sectors.

“We are looking at how we can develop some of our identified emerging sectors in our economy right now,” Scholtens said. “We have identified several emerging sectors that I believe can only benefit Niagara for a more diversified economy as we move forward.

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